Kickass Women

History is filled with women doing all kinds of kickass stuff.

Smart Girls

Watch these girls... they're going places!


Need a dose of inspiration? Here you go.

SRPS Entertainment

Some of my entertainment recommendations with awesome female characters and stars.

She's Crafty!

Some of the awesome items made by kickass women!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Barbara McClintock - geneticist

"If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off... no matter what they say." Barbara McClintock
I love this quote from Nobel prize-winning geneticist Barbara McClintock. It's like the science-y version of, "You do you!" It's the motto she lived her life by, and very much something a self-rescuing princess would follow.

I've been reading about her lately, and while historians might disagree on the sociological impact of her of her achievements and the role she played in history, there is no doubt she was a truly remarkable woman. What I find so fascinating about her, though, is her absolute dedication to doing things her way. She's most well-known for her detailed research on corn chromosomes, a truly wondrous achievement: she discovered its genetic makeup and then studied its evolution. But if you could have asked her what her greatest accomplishment was, she would insist that it was discovering genetic control -- the idea that genes can be switched on or off. Of course, this was something she discovered while conducting her exhaustive research on ... you guessed it... corn.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Five: Women Who Ran for President

There have been some exciting moments for women's history in this year's election, none the least of which was the announcement earlier this week that Hillary Clinton has likely clinched the nomination for the Democratic ticket for president.

Of course, she's not the first woman to run for president, or to even win the nomination of her party. I have seen some images and posts going around talking about a few of these women from history who've had the gall to stand up and declare their intention for the highest office in the land, but I wonder how much anyone actually knows about them, their work, or their lives?

According to Wikipedia, there have been over seventy women who have run for the office of president. I am sure all of these women have a fascinating story, and you can rest assured I will be researching them for future posts.

For now, though, I want to share a bit of info about some of the more historically prominent women whose lives and work have inspired me over the years. I've selected five to get us started.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kickstart This! Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

A couple of weeks ago I got an email asking me to take a look at the press release for a new Kickstarter project about a book featuring stories for girls or something. I have to be honest, I get several of these kinds of requests and I was a bit busy at the moment planning for a family trip, and so I put it on the back burner for a couple of days. But then I had a quiet moment to go through my to-read messages, and OMG y'all! Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls - 100 tales to dream BIG by Timbuktu Labs is the book we have been craving!

Can I just take a minute to fangirl a little about this book?! I love love love this project! I love the idea of the project. I love the way it's been put together. And I love the artwork and the video and the coloring book. I love everything about it.

I love it for all the little girls who go to sleep with dreams of space ships and microscopes and tennis rackets floating in their heads. And I love it for all the kids who desperately need to see women doing amazing things so they can create a future where everyone is welcome to follow their dreams.

More importantly though, I want a copy for myself. And the coloring book. And the stickers! I want them all. In the time since this project has gone live, I've raved about it to no fewer than a dozen people.

Co-creator Elena Favilli was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about this fantastic project and her work with Timbuktu Labs designing creative and fun play spaces for kids. Clearly she's no stranger to creating amazing things to inspire young minds.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Movie Night - REBEL: Loreta Velazquez, Secret Soldier of the American Civil War

I came across REBEL: Loreta Velazquez, Secret Soldier of the American Civil War while perusing the DVD shelves at my local library a couple of weeks ago. Having just finished watching Mercy Street, I was looking for other shows or books about the many different roles women played during the Civil War. The blurb from the back of the case certainly piqued my interest:
In 1861, at the outbreak of the American Civil War, a teenager from New Orleans headed to the front lines. Under the alias Harry T. Buford, he fought at First Bull Run, was wounded at Shiloh, and served as a Confederate spy. But Buford harbored a secret -- he was really Loreta Velazquez, a Cuban immigrant from New Orleans. By 1863, Velazquez was spying for the Union. She scandalized American when she revealed her story in her 1876 memoir, The Woman in Battle. Attacked not only for her criticism of war, but her sexuality and social rule-breaking, Velazquez was dismissed as a hoax for 150 years. But evidence confirms she existed, one of over 1,000 women soldiers who served in the Civil War.
As did this quote from the documentary's website:
With the triple digit explosion of Latino immigrants throughout the South, along with a dizzying increase in hate crimes against Latinos, and the increase in numbers of Latino and women service personnel in the nation’s military, I believe this story about a southern woman Civil War soldier who struggled with difficult decisions about nationhood and patriotism in a country racked with the scourge and legacy of slavery will resonate with contemporary audiences. As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War in the 21st century, it behooves us to broaden our understandings of the meaning of this pivotal struggle forged in blood, that sought to establish citizenship for all Americans.
So, yeah. A woman passing as a man so she could fight in the war? A discussion about Cubans living in New Orleans in the 19th century? Scandal, sex, and social impropriety? Yes, please! Sounds like my kind of story.

I have watched the documentary and the "Behind the Scenes" clip (the documentary about the documentary?) a couple of times since bringing it home, and I find that it is so chock full of information that I truly needed to watch it several times to really get a handle on her story.

Filmmaker MarĂ­a Agui Carter does an excellent job addressing the ways race, gender, and ethnicity influenced Loreta's life, and the how she clearly went out of her way to defy many of the social expectations related to these same concepts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Marie Curie - cyclist?

I am in the middle of a kind of Marie Curie kick it seems. After reading Julie Des Jardins' thought-provoking The Madame Curie Complex [affiliate link], I felt compelled to do my own research into the life and work of a woman who seems to have become more legend than anything else.

I am currently about halfway through the biography by Eve Curie, Madame Curie [affiliate link], and while I have had to put the book down for a while to process the heartbreak of Pierre's death, I keep going back to this photograph of the two of them with their prized bicycles.

The story we most often hear about Marie Curie is the one about her absolute dedication to her research and the endless hours she spent in her laboratory. These are certainly honorable, if super-human, traits worth celebrating, but I have to wonder why we so rarely hear about her more mundane and human moments? I am thoroughly fascinated by her research and the Eureka! moments as well as the years-long hard labor to prove her ideas. But I am equally fascinated to know how she and Pierre organized their home life, and what they did in their rare moments of relaxation. Maybe it's just a matter of human nature, but all while reading about the life and work of this remarkable woman, I am enjoying little pings of "hey, me too!' when I find threads of similarity between her life and mine.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

She's Crafty - Sci Chic

I absolutely love the trend of blending science and engineering and girly items. Geeky jewelry, clothing, and hair accessories are just so flippin' awesome. It takes the tired old trope of science being a masculine pursuit and drops it in a box, sets it on fire, and sends it into outer space. All with a girly flair, of course.

So when I came across the amazing 3D printed jewelry from SciChic, I made an audible squealing noise from a place of pure glee. Fortunately, when I asked, Erin Winick, one of the two amazing young women who dreamed up this fantastic business, she agreed! We had a fabulous conversation, and now I admire her work even more.

Their APEX collection is launching on Pi Day (March 14), and judging by the items they've previewed, it will be a beautiful assortment of science and engineering themed pendants and rings. I can't wait to see them all.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Gamer Girl - Damsel

Not too long ago, I saw a tweet from the excellent Giselle Rosman, whom I was lucky enough to meet while visiting Australia a couple of years ago, raving about a new game looking for votes for on Steam Greenlight. That in itself is not all that unusual, since it's pretty much her mission to promote awesome Aussie game developers. And, to be honest, I almost always check out the games she recommends because there have been so many really great games coming out of Australia lately (see Ninja Pizza Girl) so it's a pretty good gamble. And, again, she was right. Damsel look like an awesome game.
In this arcade platformer, play as agent Damsel as she races across the world keeping humanity safe from the forces of evil. Complete dozens of missions, rescue hostages, gather intel, and eliminate the vampire hordes with an ever expanding arsenal of upgradable weapons and equipment.
OK, so it's got a kickass female protagonist fighting vampire hordes with awesome weapons and saving the world from evil? Yes, please!

Over the last couple of weeks, I managed to strike up a great conversation with Megan Summers, the producer of Damsel. She shared with me a bit about herself as a female game developer and her work.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

SRPS Book Shelf: Sadie McGrady, Leading Lady

A while back a friend turned me on to Inkshares as a way to help indie authors get their books published. Since then, I've spent way too much time looking at books and buying books and reading book. OK. I haven't actually read all of the books I've ordered. Some of them haven't even come in yet, since I've only pre-ordered them.

Anyway, this isn't about my overwhelmingly huge to-read pile, both physical and virtual. This is about one of the many fantastic children's books I found there: Sadie McGrady, Leading Lady

I love that this book uses actual photographs, which brings a sense of realness and movement to the story of Sadie McGrady and her quest to become president. And of course, it's quite timely, what with the US elections going on right now. I wanted to know more about the inspiration for this book, so I reached out to its author, Mary Parry, who was gracious enough to answer some of my questions.